The Springboro school postponed action again Tuesday on a contract with a firm headed by a former state representative and former Huber Heights council member with ties to conservative organizations.
The contract to study the treasurer’s office with Seth Morgan’s firm, MLA Associates — tabled on Nov. 7 — was pulled from Tuesday’s agenda shortly before the meeting.
“We’ve pulled the MLA contract. It should be on next month’s agenda,” Board President Kelly Kohls said.
Instead, Morgan answered questions about his eight-person firm which specializes in outsourcing chief financial officers.
While Morgan is a licensed school treasurer, he said his firm would be doing its first work for a public school district.
Board member Don Miller said he wanted to wait to commission a management study of the treasurer’s department until a new treasurer is hired.
“It is the prerogative of the board,” Morgan said.
Absent Tuesday was Board Member David Petroni who represented the potential tie-breaking vote.
On Nov. 7, Kohls and board member Jim Rigano voted to hire the firm, but Petroni, Miller and Wendy Kull voted to table the proposal, after residents questioned the contract and the consultant’s ties to Kohls.
During the Nov. 7 meeting, two residents, Karen Robinson and Greg Dastillung, noted Kohls’ connection to Morgan, who has ties to the Americans for Prosperity, a national conservative organization.
“I understand there’s been a little controversy,” Morgan said Tuesday, while objecting to attempts to connect his political philosophy with his firm’s work. “It certainly doesn’t reflect on who MLA is.”
While Morgan was allowed to speak, although he was not on the agenda, Robinson was not offered a chance to comment Tuesday.
“They silenced us,” she said afterward.
Also Nov. 7, Mike Mahoney, a parent and lawyer, urged the board to carefully review the contract, noting a handful of deficiencies, from a lack of liability insurance to a weak termination clause.
Petroni at said he agreed with the concept of hiring a consultant to review the treasurer’s office, but said he could not support the original contract proposal during the earlier meeting.
An amended version of a contract was added to the agenda earlier Tuesday, before being pulled before the meeting.
Before the Nov. 7 meeting, Kohls said Morgan offered to do the management study after she contacted him with questions about the treasurer’s office.
Kohls said no other firms have been proposed or considered, although she sought suggestions from the board and administration two weeks ago. She said the board periodically hires auditing firms without seeking bids and that putting the contract out for bid would simply slow down the process.
Kohls, Miller and Kull leave office at the end of December.
The Dayton Daily News has covered the Springboro school board’s work during the past four years including recent controversial decisions that have gained national attention to the recent election of new board members that is expected to change the district’s direction.